Saturday, June 07, 2008

Honda and Toyota beats Ford in the May USA car sales

After General Motors Corporation (NYSE:GM), it’s Ford’s term. The second largest car maker in the USA took a big blow in May car sales from Japanese auto-giants: Honda and Toyota. As the USA consumers are switching toward fuel efficient Japanese cars, Honda Motor Company’s (TYO: 7267) Civic Accord and Toyota Motor Corporation’s (TYO: 7203) Corolla and Camry enjoyed higher sales to Ford Motor Company’s (NYSE:F) F-Series pickups. According to Honda spokesperson Chris Martin, in May, Honda sold 53,229 Civics and 43,778 Accords. Toyota on the other hand sold 52,826 Corollas and 51,291 Camrys. Bloomberg reports:

The second-largest U.S.-based automaker sold more Focus small cars than F-Series pickups to individual consumers, Farley also said. Those so-called retail sales usually are more profitable than those to business and government fleets that get discounts for buying in bulk.

The F-Series still beat the Focus in total sales because of fleet purchases. Ford sold 32,579 Focus cars last month, an increase of 53 percent from a year earlier, while the F-Series total was a 31 percent drop. Ford's total sales fell 16 percent last month, its sixth straight monthly decline.

Declining pickup sales contributed to Ford's announcement last month that it would abandon a target of returning to profit by next year. The company had combined losses of $15.3 billion in 2006 and 2007, mostly because of its North American unit.

For the first time in last fifteen years, any foreign auto maker topped Ford in car sales. For the first time also, Honda’s Civic has become the best-selling car in the USA. According to Ford’s marketing chief, Jim Farley, it was a watershed month. The people of USA are paying $4.20 gas for the first time.

The main problem is USA car makers are good at making heavy vehicles that take lots of fuel. Success of Japanese car makers is a big sign of change for the USA car industry. From now on, they should go for producing small fuel efficient cars to survive in the extremely competitive auto market.

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